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LoanDepot’s Lisa Moriello Talks ‘busy’ Start To 2024 Reverse Mortgage Business

As reverse mortgage industry professionals continue to look ahead into 2024 after enduring a challenging year for business in 2023, the prevailing attitude is optimistic.

Recently, the president of the industry’s leading lender discussed her eagerness to go back on “offense” this year, while loan originators across the country also shared that business seems to be off to a strong start in the early days of the year.

That’s also an attitude shared by Lisa Moriello, the national retail reverse mortgage sales manager at multichannel lender loanDepot. To understand how loanDepot’s business has started the year, RMD sat down with Moriello to hear about what she’s seeing and what the company’s loan officers are telling her.

‘Busy, in a great way’

Moriello was quick to express excitement about how things have started in 2024.

“It’s busy, in a great way,” she said. “I am finding a lot more people willing to ask the question, ‘Would a reverse mortgage work for me?’ from the consumer level. That is encouraging, and I think that has a lot to do with all the professionals in our industry really getting out there and just talking about this.”

Loan originators are also eager to engage in conversations about the product with potential clients, she said, as well as with existing and potential referral partners.

active in forward and reverse.

“I think it’s a roll-down effect, like the fact that we’re seeing so many people inquire,” she said. “For us, it’s a little bit of a different scenario, because we have the opportunity to present a client not just with reverse, but we can compare it to a home equity line of credit or a forward mortgage [and determine] what works best for them in the situation that they’re in.”

A discussion that presents options can then incorporate a lender’s reverse-certified professional into the conversation, which allows for a more substantive comparison to determine what kind of product could be the best fit.

“By talking with a professional here who has been certified for reverse, we have the ability to give them a great comparison and see what works best,” she said. “It’s just what I love about it. It’s opening a lot of doors, and I just love the fact that they’re talking about reverse [in the wider conversation].”

Opportunities and outreach

In terms of reverse mortgage opportunities the company is keeping in mind, Moriello describes a posture of “building out” existing processes that may not necessarily include cold contact. Prior customers who are older today may be a better fit for a reverse mortgage in certain scenarios.

“We don’t advertise that much to a ‘cold’ direct consumer,” she said. “We’ll advertise to ensure our past clients in our database and obviously, we do a lot of things on TV.”

As with many other reverse mortgage professionals, however, referral partners are a big source of outreach from company professionals.

“That’s all good, but my team is focusing on the effect of deeper relationships with financial planners, CPAs, trust attorneys and, right now, divorce is a big one,” she said. “Divorce attorneys and educating [them about] how a reverse mortgage can help with the division of real estate, all of those have a wider net.”

All of these professionals speak to clients and other types of professionals, who could spread the word about the possibilities of the product beyond a single conversation, Moriello explained.

“If we can teach them what a reverse mortgage borrower looks like, then they know when to call us and ask if we can run some numbers,” she said. “So, we’re focusing on that level, as well as on our existing database, letting them know what’s going on. We have those demographics, and it’s an easy move for them to know they can call us and ask us these questions.”

Because loanDepot is so active on the forward mortgage side, Moriello said that it’s fairly easy for existing clients to be flagged as potential reverse mortgage customers once they reach the age of eligibility. For the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, a company professional could look into their customer relationship management (CRM) software and see when a client could potentially qualify for a reverse mortgage.

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